Issue 137 March - April 2020

Please note: The issue content below is just a summary of the articles in the printed magazine.
The articles are not available on-line. Please refer to the printed magazine for the complete article.
New PDL Pro Series for commercial installations

A new range of wiring accessories designed by Schneider Electric specifically for commercial installations is now offering end-users a full range of functions as well as real advantages for electrical contractors maintaining the sites.

The new PDL Pro Series comes in black and white options and is readily identifiable by its clean lines and strong bevelled edges on the replaceable skins. Not only does the deep bevel offer a new look for the hard-wearing range, it allows discrete but clearly visible circuit identification for rapid trouble shooting.

Schneider Electric’s commercial manager, Philip Barrowcliffe, says the new circuit ID labelling is a significant advance on the PDL 600 series which the new Pro Series is designed to replace in commercial applications.

“When you install Pro Series switches and sockets and label them as you go, you will be able to return to the site and go straight to the right distribution board and circuit breaker and not have to go looking for lost documentation in large buildings.”

He says Pro Series delivers a professional and reliable level of circuit identification by protecting the labelling permanently behind clear windows in the skins. No longer can circuit identifiers be damaged, wiped off, or made unreadable.

Citing the Wiring Rules

The citation of the 2018 edition of AS/NZS 3000 could now occur in 2021 if the government is prepared to move with haste to develop an amendment to the Electricity Regulations.

This standard, along with over 300 other electrical standards have been updated since the last amendment and are waiting to be cited in either Schedule 2 or Schedule 4 of the Regulations.

In answer to a formal enquiry from ElectroLink, MBIE advised in February that progress is continuing on the policy work for an amendment to the listings. Said a spokesperson, “We expect to be able to provide more details towards the second half of the year.”

It has been over six years since the government replaced the Schedules. This has prevented new safety techniques and products being accepted in New Zealand in a way that does not expose the electrical industry to unnecessary legal risk.

Safety versus compliance

Ever since New Zealand began as a country, a can-do attitude enabled the country to flourish. Our fledgling democracy recognised the rights of people to get on with their lives, build shelter for their families and make a living from whatever they could produce.

Laws were simple and government was small. Boys were raised on the understanding that they could do or make whatever they wanted unless the government forbade it, but today the opposite view prevails.

In just a generation or two we have gone from a country that believed you can do anything you want unless the government prohibited it, to believing you can’t do anything unless the government permits it.

This has carried through to the electrical industry where the heavy hand of government is stifling initiative and burying productive enterprise in layers of law over an endless number of risks. This has created a climate of uncertainty for the industry, particularly when encountering unfamiliar work or equipment.

Electrical competencies in specialist areas

If you need to prove higher level competency, how would you do it? Electrical inspector Bruce Dalton runs an Auckland-based industrial electrical and engineering business employing over 80 electrical staff and is a strong advocate of excellence in training. He says a modular system could provide a better level 5 solution.

We all currently work in specialist areas of the electrical industry every day and some of these areas are restricted to people that are deemed competent to do so. The challenge we all face is if something went wrong, how do we prove we were competent to work in these specialist areas?

Another challenge we face is if we want to work in these specialist areas, how do we go about upskilling to do so. Currently there are courses for some of these areas, but they are mostly solely classroom based and it is often hard to ascertain if they will prove competence.

One answer to these problems may be to replace the current level 5 course which is currently under review with a group of smaller standalone modules that can be completed with a combination of off-job study and on-job assessment.

What machinery safety standards can do for you

Anyone who has ever designed a machine for manufacturing or has looked at importing one from overseas will be aware of the challenges of navigating the minefield of safety standards that might apply in order for the machine to be lawfully used.

Each of the many standards related to the diverse facets of machinery safety is (understandably) detailed and difficult to comprehend.

Moreover, any safety failure in an industrial workplace installation can result in heavy fines, and case law has shown that ignorance of Health and Safety at Work legislation is not an effective defence.

In New Zealand electrical law also applies and covers not just the electrical safety of industrial plant but also a broader scope of general safety compliance simply because it is a piece of equipment that uses electricity. The Electricity Regulations in Schedule 4 cite IEC 60204-1 Ed 5.1 as a deemed-to-comply (but not mandatory) method of addressing these safety risks.

However, safety standards do a lot more than just make machines safer to operate – they ultimately make machines better, in numerous aspects. For example, they clarify both the functionality and limits of operation of the machine, as well as mandating the manufacturer to produce robust documentation outlining its safety functions.

Furthermore, they establish guidelines for correct usage throughout the complete lifecycle of the machine – from the initial risk assessment, design phase, commissioning, usage and its ultimate disposal. These factors are very important for ensuring not just safety, but proper operation which will maximise its effectiveness and prolong its service life.

Emergency lighting standards update

The entrance paths to emergency lighting compliance over the last three decades have been a lot harder to follow than the exit paths the standards create. Emergency lighting standards committee member, IESANZ representative Clark Houltram, explains how emergency lighting compliance has evolved and how the changes in the latest revisions of AS/NZS 2293 can be utilised.

Before I outline the newest Emergency Lighting Standards and what they mean to you, a little background.

In 1992 the New Zealand Building Code (NZBC) came into being. Up until that time we had been using NZCP22 and later NZS 5742 as means of providing emergency lighting within buildings.

The NZBC first version of F6 Visibility in Escape Routes and F8 Signs, appeared to cause confusion, making it difficult to interpret consistently by industry.

Around the time of the NZBC clauses F6 and F8 were launched, the New Zealand chapter of the IESANZ started looking around for a standard that would provide a better system for emergency lighting. As most emergency lighting product came in from Australia, the Australian Standard AS 2293 seemed to be the way to go.

The New Zealand Chapter, together with our Australian colleagues of the IESANZ started working with the Standards Australia committee in 1993 and in 1998 the first joint Emergency Lighting Standard AS/NZS 2293 (parts 1, 2 and 3) was published.

Due to circumstances, the revision of AS/NZS 2293 (parts 1 and 3) in 2005 was produced as an Australia-only Standard, one of many joint standards to be revised as Australia-only standards. Part 2 of the standard was not revised and remained a joint standard.

How to light a boardroom

Boardroom lighting needs to be adaptable and comfortable to work in day and night, and its design should represent the company’s culture.

But today, many companies can no longer justify the cost per square metre of a room that’s not in regular use, so rarely used boardrooms are in the spotlight and may now be called to serve as a space for seminars, group meetings and overflow office work. Flexibility is the key.

Property managers also have the ability to automatically monitor and record room occupancy hours and the changing numbers of people in a room throughout the day.

Maintaining LED luminaires

LED luminaires no longer need re-lamping. Do they still need maintenance?

After a new lighting scheme is installed the light output starts to degrade to some degree. Initially the output of LED chips may increase but, measured over a longer time, the light output will gradually fall.

Why does this matter?

A lighting designer needs to factor into their design the reduction in light output and build in a compensatory amount of light at the start of the installation.